€5,902
pledged of 48.000 €pledged of 48.000 € goal
90
backers
30days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, February 18 2019 4:44 PM UTC +00:00.

Vincent VerhoevenBy Vincent Verhoeven
First created
Vincent VerhoevenBy Vincent Verhoeven
First created
€5,902
pledged of 48.000 €pledged of 48.000 € goal
90
backers
30days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, February 18 2019 4:44 PM UTC +00:00.

About

For Gamers, Kids and Teachers!

  • Extra components for gamers
  • Mini-games for kids
  • Activities for the classroom

Story

The players are astronomers coming from different continents and travelling around planet Earth. They are looking for great observation spots to accumulate enough stellar navigation knowledge and experience (Ticket points called ‘Tix’) to face a trip to the Moon (Luna).

Tix can be earned by visiting new continents, using new vehicles and by observing the Moon, the planets (expansion) and the constellations of stars. In the endgame the Tix are essential to overcome the navigation problems you might encounter on your way to the Moon. The first player reaching the Moon due to sufficient knowledge wins the game.

When playing solo, a time restriction is added to win the game depending on the difficulty level.

Prototype Game Board LunaTix trilogy
Prototype Game Board LunaTix trilogy

About the game

LunaTix: Star Trackers is an educational Board Game which combines astronomy and space navigation. It is developed by Vincent Verhoeven, who works for the Public Observatory Armand Pien at Ghent in Belgium. This unique game contains artwork by Marian Pontier, André De Coster, Nancy Scherlynck and it also contains stylish miniature designs for the expansions by Jeff McDowall Design. It takes 1 to 6 players to play the game and plays in 30 to 60 minutes. It is best to take into account the theme and complexity which are best suited for ages 10+. Best play testing experiences were at ages 12+.

How to play?

The game has two parts:

A. Astronomy: learning to be a star navigator

B. Space navigation: proving your skills as a star navigator

In the Astronomy part, which is the build-up part of the game, the astronomers are focused on timing and location to gather as much positive points (Tix) as possible in the most efficient way. The game board shows in the top left corner that each round, called a month, consists of three steps:

  • Ecliptic: when the new first player shifts the Sun on the star map, lays out new observation cards in the observation area and initiates the first choice of the planning phase.
  • Planning: each player in counter clockwise order, starting with the first player, chooses a vacant lunar phase in the observation area (1 of the 4 weeks in a month) to plan an action by placing his meeple accordingly.
  • Action: Beginning with the first week (new moon), the planned actions are being executed. In a game with more than 4 players the direct observation takes precedence of travelling, then saving an observation card, ending with observing a saved observation card.
1. Ecliptic - 2. Planning - 3. Action (image TableTopia)
1. Ecliptic - 2. Planning - 3. Action (image TableTopia)

The star map shows the Sun with new background stars, forming a zodiac constellation, each month of the year. A daylight card will cover the constellations present during the day. This dynamic alters the visibility in horizontal fashion, according to what astronomers call Right Ascension (RA). The sunset and sunrise drawn on the daylight card forms the observer’s western and eastern horizon.

Star Map with Daylight Card cover (image TableTopia)
Star Map with Daylight Card cover (image TableTopia)

A map of planet Earth shows the continents you can travel to. The visibility of stars shifts when changing latitude regions on the map. The latitude on the star map correlates with the highest passing of the stars overhead in the region on the world map; called zenith. The visibility in vertical fashion is expressed in what astronomers call Declination (DEC). Blocks underneath an armillary sphere will indicate your northern and southern horizon.

World Map for travelling (image TableTopia)
World Map for travelling (image TableTopia)

The observation area contains a freshly laid out combination of observation cards that can be scored when visible according to the time of the year and the place the player is on Earth. The lunar phases are scored according to the right week of the month that they appear in.

Observation Area (image TableTopia)
Observation Area (image TableTopia)

The end game unfolds in the Space Navigation part once a player reaches the launch pad for a voyage to the Moon. Once launched the player must tackle certain difficulties (Diff) by keeping the Diff values under their acquired knowledge and observation points (Tix). Special abilities, hidden agendas and lunar phase abilities can mitigate the values to be absorbed by your knowledge as a navigator. The game invokes an elegant choice between efficient observation, puzzling travel routes, playing out opportunities with abilities and some courage to risk a rocket launch as soon as possible.

WHAT'S UNIQUE?

LunaTix: Star Trackers offers a highly educational chance to get in touch with a real star map and to learn its link with our location on Earth. The knowledge of our planet’s position and movement around the Sun, and the seasonal changes depending on the latitude on Earth, will provide you with a deeper insight on how people came to divide time and space as we know it.

Real Star Map made to play this game
Real Star Map made to play this game
Command Module inside (Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution)
Command Module inside (Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution)

Immerse yourself inside the Apollo missions to the Moon.

Jim Lovell as first star navigator on Apollo 8 to the Moon (NASA)
Jim Lovell as first star navigator on Apollo 8 to the Moon (NASA)

Try the base game on TableTopia

 Prototype version of the rules!

The Pledges and Rewards

  • LunaTix: Star Trackers
  • Stretch goals
  • LunaTix: Star Trackers
  • LunaTix: Solar System
  • Stretch goals
  • LunaTix: Star Trackers
  • LunaTix: Lunar Lander
  • Stretch goals
  • LunaTix: Star Trackers
  • LunaTix: Solar System
  • LunaTix: Lunar Lander
  • Stretch goals
  • Scaled model of the Earth and the Moon (only on Kickstarter for Ultimate Astronaut Backers!)

 What's in the box of Star Trackers?

What does Solar System add to the game?

This expansion is an extension of the Astronomy part of the game and adds observation cards of the planets, or the so called "wandering stars", because they can't be fixed on the star map. The game board works like an orrery of the planets that are visible with the naked eye and with a small telescope. We've left out Uranus and Neptune.

Because these planets are so faint and far away, they were only discovered in the 17th and 18th century: Uranus in 1690 and Neptune in 1795. We do mention them in the Edu-booklet, but for educational and observational reasons, we do want to stress, they are unable to be detected by the general public.

The gameplay concentrates on the concept of visibility of planets from the Earth in relation to the Sun. We even included Venus and Mercury transits among the observation cards.

During the Ecliptic Step of the month, after the first player shifts the Sun on the ecliptic of the Star Map and after laying out new observation cards, the rocky planets shift one position counterclockwise around the Sun. The Gas planets only shift their position after one Earth year.

The basic collections for planets are Rocky and Gas planets.

Visibility is checked with the crossing line through the Sun making a 90° angle with the month marking line of Earth.

When one of the month marking lines is touched by the Earth and Venus or Mercury (if they are aligned on the same side of the Sun), we have a possible transit.

Here some illustrations to show in an elegant and simplified way what the concept of visibility and transit is.

Some can recognize the positions of 2018, apart from the possible transits, but those transits are just there for conceptual reasons. These rare phenomena are explaned in the EDU and INFO booklet.

Don't miss out on the real Mercury Transit on November 11–12 in 2019!

What's in the box of Solar System?

What does Lunar Lander add to the game?

This expansion is an extension of the Space Navigation part of the game where the players have to complete a real Apollo mission and return home safely.

Gravity is the main theme here. We tried to simplify a simulation by using only Altitude and Inclination. With maneuver cards players can change their Altimeter and the Orbit on the Moon map. A succesful landing on your mission's location is the combination of position on the map and getting the lander to '000' on the Altimeter.
Example: a right or left thrust changes your ORBIT position and a backward or forward (retrograde or prograde) thrust changes your position on the ALTIMETER. Turning, landing, rendez-vous and take off are some of the special maneuvers.
With only these basic maneuver cards can an orbit be manipulated. Six of those maneuver cards are drawn each turn while in orbit and are simply six steps on the orbit in addition to some cards that the player wants to activate. Activated cards cost fuel depending on the maneuver type.

The mission of a player is only revealed on stage 3 of the game towards the Moon. This might give players the surprise effect when revealing Apollo 8, 10 or 13!

Fuel dice will be added according to the mission on a CSM/LM player board.

In the following example Apollo 10 's mission was to test the lunar lander in lunar orbit without actual landing. It was a rehearsal mission for Apollo 11. There wasn't enough fuel for the actual landing. In this game portrayed as 0 fuel in the descent stage.
Game version doesn't use the exact numbers. The concept is key!
Mission Apollo 10 in LunaTix: Lunar Lander
-CSM: at least 2 orbits (on green orbit: n°4)
-CSM: separation at 200 meters high
-LM: descent to 100 meters high
-LM: descent stage ejection
-return home safely
 

What's in the box of Lunar Lander?

Quick overview + example of everything.

In the following video I try to explain in short and with a gameplay example what the entire game is all about. For the mini-games we will give more info and examples in our KS newsletter.
I have made a longer video first, with info on all the hidden agendas, but I think this is best done with a separate video.

Note: we are not a publishing house, but we do work with professional manufacturers and distributors, talented miniature designers and passionate artists. We, as an observatory, are professional science educators and we know how to gamify our knowledge. Let say, we are really trying to Kickstart our idea on the game board!
Vincent

Play through in the following video with planets of expansion 1, but without expansion tokens and expansion hidden agendas.

 On the Media

Why would you support us?

Astronomy and space travel appeals to the imagination while invoking awe and wonder. Both kids and adults sometimes remain with unanswered questions about something like space travel which shaped our modern society, and with confusing thoughts about astronomy which lay at the foundation of our coordinate system on Earth and our time keeping.

The employees of the public observatory Armand Pien at the University of Ghent are all specialized in space history and in the celestial mechanics, and they pay extra attention to the scientific background in this board game’s theme. For us it is important that we can spread more knowledge about the Earth and other planets, the Moon, the Sun and the other stars.

Next year on the 20th of July 2019 it will be the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. This unique opportunity is ideal to relive the Apollo adventure through our board game. Furthermore, we will also provide an info booklet with a look into the future, such as the plans to build a space station around and a base on the Moon. For many, the Moon is an intermediate step towards Mars.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU), founded in 1919, is an organization for the promotion of international cooperation and coordination in the field of astronomy. It is involved in the naming of astronomical objects. In addition to scientific cooperation, it also provides outreach and educational development. Its 100th birthday falls together with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.

Our project comes with two important anniversaries in both astronomy and space travel. The board game theme covers just these two backgrounds and our intentions also fall under IAU’s outreach and educational development.

As a public observatory, we have a mission to popularize astronomy and spaceflight, and we also have to reach different target groups. This time we want to involve the gamers, including many students and board game geeks. We have done our best to provide the game with various board game components, so that a board game enthusiast can also enjoy the game itself, including its mechanics and options within the theme.

Educational Support for Everyone

  • a manual of the game
  • an information booklet (by Pieter Mestdagh and Vincent Verhoeven) covering basic knowledge of astronomy, spaceflight and information of the artwork in the game
  • an EDU-manual (by Maaike Dubois) for teacher support in the classroom, to tackle a seemingly complex content into separate sections covering each concept comprehensively with a mini-game for each of the 5-6 lessons. Each lesson is timed for 50 minutes.

SPIEL 2018 succes

Spiel 2018 GA45
Spiel 2018 GA45
LunaTix: Star Trackers Demo
LunaTix: Star Trackers Demo
     


Shipping Terms and conditions

After this campaign we will use the CrowdOx pledge manager, in which you’ll be asked to confirm your pledge. If you do not log in and confirm your pledge within 8 weeks of our notification via email to confirm your pledge, you agree that we have fulfilled our obligations to you in full for payment or donations received. However, we may, at our discretion, refund or ship your pledge if you contact us and confirm your pledge after the 8 week window has elapsed. Higher shipping rates may apply for individual shipping if you didn’t confirm your pledge in time in our pledge manager. If you confirm your pledge within 8 weeks of our notification via email, you agree that our responsibility to you is to ship your order as entered into our pledge manager system.

Shipping costs will be added in the CrowdOx pledge manager after the Kickstarter campaign.

Shipping costs vary widely based on where you will receive your reward and therefore a one-size-fits-all price just is not possible. However, once the final weight of the package is defined, we will add a shipping cost list. Our fulfilment partner is GamesQuest, experienced in shipping games to consumers all over the world, assuring a professional service for the delivery of your products in the most cost effective manner. Note that shipping is possible worldwide and that friendly shipping is included for EU, US and AU.

UPDATE JANUARY 10th:

Here we have an estimate of the shipping costs. The prices of January have gone up with 1GBP. Nevertheless, as a sign of good faith we subtract 2 EUR of the newly calculated amount based on the value of GBP and the postal market list provided by our fulfilment agent for this month (e.g. Austria type B 12 EUR, we changed it into 10 EUR).

If however the prices go even under our subtraction rate, we will implement those values during the pledge manager phase. Otherwise we keep these values.

You are responsible for import duties or any other duties that may be payable to the relevant tax authorities, providing correct address information and ensuring this address is deliverable by normal methods. We regret we are unable to ship to PO Boxes. If you do not accept these terms, please do not pledge on this project but instead wait for the general release.

We provide 3 free pickup possibilities:

  • pickup at 'Zomerspel '19' in Merelbeke, Belgium (if available)
  • pickup at UGent-Volkssterrenwacht Armand Pien, Ghent, Belgium
  • pickup at Volkssterrenwacht Orion Streekbos, Bovenkarspel, The Nederlands
Zomerspel 2019
Zomerspel 2019

Risks and challenges

It's our goal to deliver a quality game in time. Nonetheless there are always risks associated with manufacturing and logistics. These problems can delay or otherwise impact our ability to meet our commitments to our backers. These issues include (but are not limited to): Production delays, Shipping delays, Customs delays. The estimated delivery date is July 2019, but keep in mind this is only an estimate. Also, due to the logistics of international shipping, backers in different regions of the world may receive their game sooner than others. We've done our best to minimize this as much as possible, and we will refund pledges for good, solid reasons or if for some totally unforeseen reason the game can't be delivered at all. By pledging to this project, you acknowledge that the final look, materials and content of the rewards (and the project) are subject to change and may differ substantially from what is presented while the Kickstarter project was active.

We did a lot of work, to make every part of this game work and did a lot of testings to made sure that every single detail had been addressed twice.

We want to assure you that we will handle everything from manufacturing to shipping and fulfilling with the highest level of professionalism.

If an issue does occur, we will inform you and be transparent on how we are going to resolve it.

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